David Martin, Ph.D., joins as Senior Vice President of Development Sciences
Samira Shaikhly joins as Chief People Officer
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – August 31, 2023 – Septerna, a biotechnology company discovering and advancing novel small molecule medicines targeting G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), today announced the addition of David Martin, Ph.D., as Senior Vice President of Development Sciences, and Samira Shaikhly as Chief People Officer to its leadership team.
“As we continue to build both our product pipeline and our team, we know great leaders are critical to our continued success, and we’re excited to welcome both Dave and Samira to the team. Dave brings extensive experience in preclinical and clinical development across therapeutic areas, including endocrine disorders, where two of our lead programs are focused. His expertise will benefit our entire pipeline, including our parathyroid hormone 1 receptor (PTH1R) program, which is advancing toward clinical development for hypoparathyroidism, and our preclinical thyroid stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR) program for Graves’ disease, as well as our earlier stage assets,” said Jeffrey Finer, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Septerna. “Another focus for us is continuing to build out our incredible team, and Samira’s deep expertise in human resources, corporate culture building, and talent development will be critical as we continue to grow and evolve as a fully integrated drug discovery and development company.”
“Septerna has assembled a world-class group of experts in GPCR drug discovery and development, and I am thrilled to be joining the team,” said Martin. “I have been impressed by the company’s ability to rapidly identify novel GPCR drug candidates using its Native Complex™ Platform. I look forward to advancing these groundbreaking therapeutics toward the clinic and ultimately to patients.”
“This is an exciting time at Septerna. The company is poised for significant growth as it accelerates the development of multiple pipeline products. The leadership has a deep appreciation for the transformative power of human capital, and I am committed to carrying that forward and cultivating a culture that nurtures innovation, collaboration, and diversity,” said Shaikhly.
David Martin has more than 30 years of experience advancing novel therapeutics through clinical development at both large and small biotechnology companies. His work spans therapeutic areas, including neurodegenerative disorders, oncology and nephrology. During his 15-year tenure at Amgen, Martin was Executive Director of Renal Research and was involved in the approval of Sensipar® for secondary hyperparathyroidism. He was also instrumental in leading IND-enabling studies for a glial-derived neurotrophic growth factor for Parkinson’s disease, an interleukin-1 receptor antagonist for multiple sclerosis, and calcimimetic leads for secondary hyperparathyroidism and gastrointestinal disorders. Most recently, Martin was Senior Vice President of Nonclinical and Clinical Pharmacology at QED Therapeutics, where he was involved in the development of Truseltiq™, which was approved for cholangiocarcinoma. Previously, he was Senior Director, Nonclinical Development at Puma Biotechnology, where his work led to the approval of Nerlynx® for HER2+ breast cancer. Martin received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the Royal Veterinary School at the University of London and his BSc from North East London Polytechnic.
Samira Shaikhly is a human resources leader with more than 25 years of experience enabling organizational effectiveness and driving impactful change in high-growth companies across multiple human resource disciplines. Prior to joining Septerna, Shaikhly was Chief People Officer at Ambys Medicines, where she led the People & Culture function during a critical and transformative time as the company evolved from a research-focused company to a development organization. Before Ambys, Shaikhly spent 15 years at Gilead Sciences, where she supported various functions, geographies, and senior leaders. As Global Head of Human Resources, Corporate Functions, Shaikhly sat on the human resources leadership team and worked with the CEO’s direct reports on their global organization’s people agenda. Shaikhly has a BA in Organizational Communications from the University of San Francisco and an Executive Coaching Certification from New Ventures West.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest and most diverse family of cell membrane receptors, and humans have hundreds of different GPCRs, each involved in controlling specific biological functions. GPCRs on the surface of each cell bind a wide range of external signaling molecules from throughout the body, and the GPCR transmits the signal across the cell membrane to drive internal cellular mechanisms. GPCRs have been widely studied as drug targets and are the largest family of proteins targeted by approved drug products. An estimated 700 approved drugs target GPCRs, representing approximately one-third of all currently approved drugs. Despite the pharmacological success of GPCRs as a drug class to date, the large majority of potential therapeutic GPCR targets remain undrugged.
Septerna, Inc., is a biotechnology company focused on advancing novel, oral small molecule medicines targeting the entire class of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The company’s Native Complex™ Platform recapitulates GPCRs with their native structure, function, and dynamics outside of the cellular environment to rapidly apply new technologies for industrial-scale drug discovery to address both validated GPCRs and many GPCRs that have been undruggable and unexploited to date. Septerna is building a pipeline of GPCR-targeted, oral small molecule drug candidates, led by its program targeting the parathyroid hormone 1 receptor (PTH1R) for the treatment of hypoparathyroidism. Septerna was launched in 2022 by scientific founders who have made groundbreaking GPCR discoveries. For more information, please visit www.septerna.com.
THRUST Strategic Communications